How to Lay Down Sod Grass


It may be a more expensive procedure to lay sod than to grow grass from seed, but the convenience and the gratification from having an instant lawn can be well worth the cost. The soil still needs to be prepared much like you would when sowing seed, but subsequent steps involve far less labor and are less time consuming than starting a lawn from seed.

Prepare the Soil Bed

Step 1

Check with your local county agricultural agent to find out about soil acidity or alkalinity in your area. Your agent may recommend additional nutrients for you to add to the soil beyond the basics.

Step 2

Remove your existing lawn with a power sod cutter or spade. Doing this may also require you to add topsoil in order to return the soil to the previous grade level.

Step 3

Spread nutrients over the soil. Add nitrogen and phosphorus and, if your area receives a lot of rainfall, add potash as well in a ratio of 10 pounds of potash to 1,000 square feet.

Step 4

Spread organic material to help the soil absorb and retain moisture. This will be sold as peat moss or a material made from sawdust and ground bark. Aged manure is also an alternative.

Step 5

Blend in the fertilizer and organic material with a rotary tiller, going back and forth more than once so that all the material is thoroughly incorporated. You only need to work to a depth of about 3/4 inch lower than the existing surrounding soil or pavement.

Step 6

Spread a complete fertilizer over the area. Check the directions on bags to determine how much you will need and to insure that the fertilizer contains nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.

Step 7

Moisten the soil slightly.

Laying the Sod

Step 1

Roll the sod onto the soil. Stagger the ends of each strip of sod and press all the edges as close as possible to the previous strip.

Step 2

Roll the lawn with a heavy roller, half filled with water.

Step 3

Water the lawn thoroughly.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid walking on the sod for about four weeks.

Things You'll Need

  • Power sod cutter or spade
  • Topsoil (optional)
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Nutrients
  • Organic material
  • Rotary tiller
  • Complete fertilizer
  • Roller


  • "Sunset Western Garden Book"; editors of Sunset Magazine and Sunset Books; 1977
  • University of Idaho Extension: Lawn & Turf: Establishing a Lawn
Keywords: planting a lawn, laying sod, sod lawns

About this Author

A freelance writer with an extensive career in education, Susan Lundman taught writing and communication at the Military Academy at West Point, at military bases overseas and at community colleges in the United States. Working in a non-profit agency for 20 years, she wrote grant requests, promotional material, and operating guides. Lundman's expertise includes backpacking, dance, gardening and healthy living.